The distribution of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) within the mitotic spindle of newt lung epithelial cells was studied with the high voltage electron microscope (HVEM) using Bernhard's uranyl-EDTA-lead staining of thick sections in conjunction with the ribonuclease digestion of fixed cells. The results indicate that aside from ribosomes, the major RNP-containing components of the spindle are the kinetochores and centrioles, both of which stain electron-opaque after EDTA treatment. In both cases, the electron-opaque material associated with these microtubule organizing centers (MTOC's) can be removed by RNAse digestion and cold perchloric acid (PCA) extraction under conditions which leave the spindle microtubules (Mts) centrioles, and kinetochores intact. The staining reaction is not abolished by cold PCA extraction alone or by substituting other positively charged proteins (i.e., cytochrome c or lysozyme) for RNAse. The RNP component of the kinetochore is closely associated with the bases of the kinetochore microtubules. The RNP component of the centriole can be seen to surround the microtubules of the triplet blades. No evidence was found to indicate the presence of RNP in the pericentriolar material. The possible function of both kinetochore and centriolar RNP is discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.